2013 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: UNC v. Elon

DT Sylvester Williams was the best player on the field on Saturday v. Elon (Photo: US Presswire)


Coming into this game many fans were excited to see WR Aaron Mellette take on UNC after he tortured Vandy last season but it was all for not as UNC crushed Elon going up by more than 30 in the first half. This was by far one of the worst games I’ve ever seen Mellette play and I look for him to bounce back quickly. On the other side of the coin DT Sylvester Williams was dominant and in rare form.

North Carolina
QB Bryn Renner* 2
-Running the super speed offense for the first time
-Efficient and accurate early
-Throws a really nice deep ball to his WR who can’t haul it in
-Off balance throw leads to a third down incompletion, first time Renner had to come off his primary read
-Seems to be hitting a rhythm with his short passes
-Forces pass that should have been picked off by CB recovering instead the ball is deflected and then caught by the WR
-Over throws Highsmith who was looking for a different kind of throw
-Catches pass from Highsmith off reverse WR pass, impressive job watching the ball in
-Throws INT to a CB who sat possum on a route, forced the ball when it wasn’t needed.
Summary: Renner had an alright game but I wasn’t impressed by many of his throws. His best throws to me were when he went deep with some nice touch, but overall he threw very short passes that were for the most part accurate. He never really tested the seams of the defense and I was surprised he didn’t get more aggressive early on not that it was needed.

WR Erik Highsmith 88
-Runs through multiple tackles as after catching the screen pass
-Good acceleration to get up field as the defense tried to react
-Hands catches the ball and then ducks underneath a would be tackler for about 20 yards of YAC
-Not a great blocker
-Takes reverse and completes a first down throw to Renner, ball was spun well coming out of his hand
-Drops easy pass
-Runs good but not great routes
-Long legged strider who takes a few steps to get up to full speed
-Not extremely sharp on his cuts, looks a bit stiff in his hips
-Has good top end speed, but could struggle with press coverage off the line
Summary: I thought Highsmith had a good game and is a good fit for this new look offense. He seems to have a good relationship with Renner. The athletic ability is all there and Highsmith has been a playmaker throughout his career but question will persist about his deep speed at this level.

OT Brennan Williams 73
-Quick out of his stance
-Good power to just move his man out of the way
-Missed open field block on reverse that could have sprung the play
-Dominating his man
-Even in pass block he’s moving his man back off the line
-Gets extended out in front of him
-Impressive strength
-Balanced base and bends at his waist
-Moves really well laterally
-Has not been tested all game
-Dominant effort all-around
Summary: Don’t let the relative lack of notes scare you on Williams, he was the most impressive offensive player in this game for me. He dominated every Elon defender he went up against and really did a good job with his technique. He’s a big man who can move better than most RT prospects, Im close to saying he’s the best RT in the country right now.

OT James Hurst* 68
-Traps to the right side, locates and engages block well
-Has given up a pressure or even a yard to a defender yet, dominating performance
-Very sound technically
-Hand placement is consistently on point
-Technical ability is off the charts
-Lateral agility is very evident, slides his feet with ease
-So consistent, every snap looks like a mirror image of the past
-Not sure his strength is where it needs to be but he’s more than holding his own in this game
-Never beaten in this game
Summary: Big OT prospect who moves extremely well and knows how to block from a technical stand point. Im not sure he has the upside of some of the more athletic LT prospects but he is more technically sound than most. I’d like to see him against better competition and I worry about his ability to move his man on just brute strength.

OG Johnathan Cooper 64
-Traps to the right side in pass pro to pick up DL to sell play action fake
-Pulls out to the left and gets key cut block that springs Bernard for a long TD run
-Blowing open holes in the running game
-Pulls with the Hurst and cleans up the block that Hurst misses in the open field
-Powerful on contact
-If UNC wants positive yards they need to just run behind Cooper, just dominant blocking
-Stays low through contact and just moves his man
-Never seems to give up his chest plate
- Lower body strength is very impressive, once those legs get moving forward the defender is going to go backwards
-Anchors down with ease
-Understand leverage game better than maybe any other OL prospect on UNC, is able to stand up DT on power move and control him
Summary: Cooper was a close second to Williams for his dominant display, his strength display may have caused my concerns about Hurst’s strength because Cooper’s ability was just so much more evident. It seemed like ever big run by Bernard involved a Cooper block.

OG Travis Bond 76
-Good technique, sits down in stance and appears ready to anchor down and take on DT one on one
-Misses stunting DE but is bailed out by OC, stayed with DT when he should of let him go to Williams.
-Gets out in front of screen pass and cuts the DB who could of stopped the TD pass to Bernard
-Moves very well for his size
-Doesn’t quite blow people off the ball like Cooper is, but also doesn’t give up even an inch
-Really looks like he doesn’t even have to try v. the competition to stop them
Summary: Not a ton to evaluate with Bond, he was quite possibly the least impressive OL prospect for UNC but that’s not saying he’s not good. He just was not at all tested and didn’t really have a chance to showcase his skill set. He’ll definitely be a guy we want to come back and watch again.

DE Kareem Martin* 95
-Explodes into B gap and almost gets to Wilson on a three step drop
-Getting off the ball really well and gets a hit on Wilson
-Got caught in no man’s land on zone read play
-Effectively uses his hands to get inside OT and into backfield for a pressure
-Impressive change of direction ability for a man his size
-Not sure he has the bend to consistently threaten the edge with his speed
-Uses his long arms really well to move the OT and open up a pressure lane
-Can’t stop noticing his first step, consistently beats the OT to the B Gap with it
Summary: I was very impressed by Martin who I didn’t have high expectations for coming into this game. He was incredibly quick coming off the ball and really surprised me with his strength and speed. I thought his best move was to hit the B Gap rather than trying to work the outside edge. Really could show off his first step and quickness that way. I’m excited to see more of him.

DT Sylvester Williams 92
-Beats his man into the backfield and redirects the running play inside
-Flushes Wilson outside after powering through the OC
-Knows he can’t get to the QB so he gets his hands up and deflects a pass that ends up being picked off
-Dominating the interior of the OL
-Unblockable right now
-Incredible quickness for a man his size
-First step is extremely quick
-Swims OC’s intial block and then works through the 2nd block, finds open spot and crunches Wilson for a big sack
-Explosive off the snap
-Hand usage is quite advanced and he’s abusing every Elon OL he faces
Summary: This looked like a man against boys scenario for Williams who decimated any and every Elon OL he faced. His power was unmatchable and his speed and hands were killer all day long. The question on Williams coming in was his motor, but he was in overdrive during this game all but ensuring QB Thomas Wilson needed a long ice bath after this game.

CB Jabari Price* 4
-Tackling extremely well, wrapping up WR’s legs
-Closes on the WR as soon as they catch the ball
-Great concentration to see that Williams has deflected the ball into the air, beat the cut block, and still make the INT
-Jars ball loose with hit on a quick slant
-Getting really aggressive and its paying off
-Blows up bubble screen, beat slot WR to a spot
-Closing speed is close to elite level
-Has great burst out of his back pedal, explodes into shorter routes
-Transition from back pedal to sprint is no issue at all
-Hips are silky smooth when in coverage, shows great change of direction ability
Summary: Price left a huge impression on me in this game, he made a number of big plays and showed the potential to make plenty more over the rest of this season. Price is a strong tackling CB who showed some nice physicality against bigger WR’s who he needed to be assertive with.

QB Thomas Wilson 12
-Very compact throwing motion
-Inaccurate with the football as the pressure continues to build
-Some athletic ability to step up in the pocket and make a play with his feet for a first down
-Throws an INT off a tipped pass, not a bad throw just unlucky
-Throws nice pass to Mellette that is dropped
-Horrible throw on bubble screen, right at a UNC CB for an INT
-Seems to be forcing a lot of passes now
-Hits and pressure seem to be taking their toll as his accuracy and mechanics have fallen way off
Summary: It wasn’t a good game to do an evaluation on Wilson, in fact it was so bad it almost wasn’t fair. Elon’s OL gave Wilson no time at all and he didn’t always make a good throw or decision. He should still put up numbers this year but his decision making remains suspect.

WR Aaron Mellette 3
-Allowed CB to jump route on in, needs to be more physically imposing
-Makes catch on bubble screen and you can see some quickness in his hips
-Again allows a smaller CB to jump his route and bump him off the route
-Willing down field blocker on screen pass, controls CB Price
-Allows ball to go right off his hands
-Took his eyes off the ball
-Tries to bounce end around run back outside and gets tackled for a loss of two yards
-Looks completely tuned out of the game
Summary: This may have been the most disappointing performance I have ever seen from Mellette. He at times looked disinterested and not engaged. He dropped passes he usually never does and what’s worse is that he was continually bumped off his routes by small CB’s. I’ll be watching Mellette closely over the next few weeks to see if he can hold on to his #1 Small School prospect ranking.

Tags: Aaron Mellette, Elon, Kareem Martin, North Carolina, Sylvester Williams

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